ORANGE, s. A good example of plausible but entirely incorrect etymology is that of orange from Lat.
aurantium. The latter word is in fact an ingenious medieval fabrication. The word doubtless came from
the Arab. naranj, which is again a form of Pers. narang, or narangi, the latter being still a common
term for the orange in Hindustan. The Persian indeed may be traced to Skt. nagarañga, and narañga,
but of these words no satisfactory etymological explanation has been given, and they have perhaps
been Sanscritized from some southern term. Sir W. Jones, in his article on the Spikenard of the Ancients,
quotes from Dr. Anderson of Madras, a very curious philological remark, that in the Tamul dictionary,
most words beginning with nar have some relation to fragrance; as narukeradu, to yield an odour; nártum
pillei, lemon-grass; nártei, citron; nárta manum (read marum), the wild orange-tree; nárum panei, the Indian
jasmine; nárum alleri, a strong smelling flower; and nártu, which is put for nard in the Tamul version of
our scriptures. (See As. Res. vol. ii. 414). We have not been able to verify many of these Tamil terms.
But it is true that in both Tamil and Malayalam naru is fragrant. See, also, on the subject of this article,
A. E. Pott, in Lassens Zeitschrift f. d. Kunde des Morgenlandes, vii. 114 seqq.
The native country of
is believed to be somewhere on the northern border of India. A wild orange, the supposed
parent of the cultivated species, both sweet and bitter, occurs in Garhwal and Sikkim, as well as in the Kasia (see COSSYA) country, the valleys of which last are still abundantly productive of excellent oranges.
[See Watt, Econ. Dict. ii. 336 seqq.] It is believed that the orange first known and cultivated in Europe
was the bitter or Seville orange (see Hanbury and Flückiger, 111-112).
From the Arabic, Byzantine Greek
got [Greek Text] nerantzion, the Spaniards naranja, old Italian narancia, the Portuguese laranja, from
which last, or some similar form, by the easy detachment of the l (taken probably, as in many other
instances, for an article), we have the Ital. arancio, L. Latin aurantium, French orange, the modification
of these two being shaped by aurum and or. Indeed, the quotation from Jacques de Vitry possibly
indicates that some form like al-arangi may have been current in Syria. Perhaps, however, his phrase
ab indigenis nuncupantur may refer only to the Frank or quasi-Frank settlers, in which case we should
have among them the birthplace of our word in its present form. The reference to this passage we derived
in the first place from Hehn, who gives a most interesting history of the introduction of the various species
of citrus into Europe. But we can hardly think he is right in supposing that the Portuguese first brought
the sweet orange (Citrus aurantium dulce) into Europe from China, c. 1548. No doubt there may have
been a reintroduction of some fine varieties at that time.1 But as early as the beginning of the 14th century
we find Abulfeda extolling the fruit of Cintra. His words, as rendered by M. Reinaud, run: Au nombre
des dependances de Lisbonne est la ville de Schintara; à Schintara on recueille des pommes admirables
pour la grosseur et le gout (2442). That these pommes were the famous Cintra oranges can hardly
be doubted. For Baber (Autobiog. 328) describes an orange under the name of Sangtarah, which is,
indeed, a recognised Persian and Hind. word for a species of the fruit. And this early propagation of
the sweet orange in Portugal would account not only for such wide diffusion of the name of Cintra, but
for the persistence with which the alternative name of Portugals has adhered to the fruit in question.
The familiar name of the large sweet orange in Sicily and Italy is portogallo, and nothing else; in Greece
[Greek Text] portogalea, in Albanian protokale, among the Kurds portoghal; whilst even colloquial Arabic
has burtukan. The testimony of Masudi as to the introduction of the orange into Syria before his time
(c. A.D. 930), even if that were (as it would seem) the Seville orange, renders it quite possible that better
qualities should have reached Lisbon or been developed there during the Saracenic occupation. It was
indeed suggested in our hearing by the late Sir Henry M. Elliot that sangtarah might be interpreted as
sang-tar, green stones (or in fact moist pips); but we hardly think he would have started this had the
passage in Abulfeda been brought to his notice. [In the Ain (ed. Gladwin, 1800, ii. 20) we read: Sircar
Here grows a delicious fruit called Soontara, in colour like an orange, but of an oblong form.
This passage reads in Col. Jarretts translation (ii. 124): There is a fruit called Súntarah in colour like
an orange but large and very sweet. Col. Jarrett disputes the derivation of Sangtarah from Cintra, and
he is followed by Mr. H. Beveridge, who remarks that Humayun calls the fruit Sanatra. Mr. Beveridge is
inclined to think that Santra is the Indian hill name of the fruit, of which Sangtarah is a corruption, and
refers to a village at the foot of the Bhutan Hills called Santrabari, because it had orange groves.]
A.D. c. 930.The same may be said of the orange-tree (Shajr-ul-naranj) and of the round citron, which
were brought from India after the year (A.H.) 300, an
d first sown in Oman. Thence they were transplanted